note: This a 'continuation' of some thoughts in February.
Well I ain't no new messiah,
But I'm close enough for rock and roll.
38 Special, "Rockin' Into the Night"
What is love? The Bible tells us, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (KJV) 1 John 4:7
Anyone who gets to know me finds out that I'm not usually a Bible quoter, I do believe that God (or the Divine, or the Universe, or the Great Unknown, or Whatever you choose to call It) is the source of love. What else but some omnificent, omnipotent, omniscient omnipresence (did that cover all the 'omni's?) could create such a thing? Surely it can't just be the result of chemical reactions. As much as we try to recreate love with chemicals we ultimately fall short. When I was younger (college age) I began to doubt the existence of the "Omni-" although I'd grown up in a Christian (Lutheran) home and had been baptized and confirmed and all that. I never thought of myself as an atheist but more as an agnostic at that time.
Then I fell in love. I couldn't explain love in any other way than that it had to come from some great "Omni-". Surely, anyone who has loved can relate. And when I had my children my knowing of the "Omni-" was even more confirmed. And that maternal love also gave me the purest and strongest glimpse of the "Omni-" that I've ever had. Looking at my firstborn I literally felt my heart open and fill with something that had never been there before. I was never the same.
To be sure, love comes in as many forms as our imaginations and nature can create. There is romantic love, parental love, friendly love, etc. Maybe it seems different only because we each filter and express it differently with different people. Maybe it's like light and sound that travel differently through different substances. But let us not be confused as to love's source even though it seems to exist in so many various forms.
The Divine Feminine
My problems with Christianity lie largely with the Father and the Son. Yeah, I know that's huge. The Lutherans believe in the Trinity, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. That always bothered me, even as a child. Where was the Mother? Where was the feminine aspect of divinity? It didn't make sense. Was the Holy Spirit feminine? Not according to the church's teachings. Can't you see how this oversight would concern a thoughtful little girl?
Even as encompassing as the Trinity tries to be it seems still incomplete. And I've wondered why the concept of the Holy Spirit wasn't enough in itself. Any time that we try to limit the "Omni-" with names and personifications we are limiting our own understanding of It. Of course, we do want to name things. That's what we do. We like to identify our surroundings and give things names so that we can communicate about them. But isn't there some scripture that tells us not to name God? Or am I suffering from another false memory caused by too many random thoughts (some old and feeble) bumping into each other and getting confused?
Doesn't it seem like it's time for another Reformation? Doesn't it seem like the way-it-is has been somewhat dysfunctional? And no wonder, there is no balance. Hold the groans, yes, I'm going to make a Star Wars reference here. Anakin was the promised one who was going to bring balance back to the Force. In his wisdom George Lucas chose not to have that happen with ease and happiness (where's the material for 6 movies in that?). The balance to the Force came only after much pain and suffering, all connected in some way to Anakin's love for his mother and Padme. Where am I going with this? I'm not sure, but I do have a point somewhere. Maybe I'm trying to say that we need a new messiah, a female who can give the world a new, more complete perspective on the Divine. Despite an occasional delusion of grandeur, no, I'm not suggesting that I'm some new messiah... I'm not even close enough for rock and roll.
So, what's love got to do with it? Well, over the last couple of thousand years the masculine concept of the Divine hasn't been terribly successful in promoting 1 John 4:7, has it? Maybe if males grew lives inside their bodies they would revere it more? "...and every one that loveth is born of God..." Born of God. Born of woman. You make the connection. I'm being facetious; I'm not saying that God is a woman. I'm saying that by denying the feminine aspect of the "Omni-" we are limiting It. If it truly is "Omni-" then it is everything, not just the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The problems with love are due to our own limitations. Love inevitably causes us pain, so how can it be from the Divine? Asking that is the same as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's not the love itself that causes the pain. It's the denial, withdrawal, or blindness to the love that hurts us. Love really is like a drug in that way. Once you have a taste of it you want it over and over and over again. The trick is to learn to access that love on your own and not rely on it coming from others. Oh, yes, I know what a difficult trick that is! And anyone who has loved, really loved, has felt their heart break, if only from the thought of their love going away. But we don't have to rely on others to connect to the flow of love that comes from the "Omni-".
Some say that we can only do that through the Son, Jesus Christ. Frankly, and I know this is a heresy, but I think that what Jesus said was misinterpreted or even that his own language was limited by his time and place.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (KJV) John 14:6
I guess Jesus was brought up with the prevailing Jewish views of the time. And that was Father-based. Maybe you can only get to the Father by way of Jesus, but what about the "Omni-"? Is it possible that what Jesus meant was that he knew the meaning of love and that people needed to listen to his words in order to learn that truth? I know these are uncomfortable questions and statements.
And what happens when our hearts get broken anyway? That answer is probably as variable as the different people in the world. My heart has been broken many times, even in the 'protection' of marriage. David says I'm way oversensitive. Maybe so, but maybe sensitivity is a tool people can use to access (open up to) the love from the Source, the "Omni-"? Either way, I do know that Groove is in the Heart, and if people want to be some kind of a conduit for it they need to reinforce their insulation somehow because it can burn like a bare, hot wire. Or maybe like light reflected from a mirror (you really can burn things that way):
There's a mirror moving inside my mind
Reflecting the love that you shine on me
Hold on now to that feeling
Let it flow, let it grow, yeah, yeah
My heart is on fire
My soul's like a wheel that's turnin'
My love is alive, my love is alive, yeah...
Love Is Alive by Gary Wright
But just because it is hot and possibly dangerous, much like the electricity that runs through our wired world, doesn't mean that it's not worth the risk in order to have our lives lit up and powered from within.
So I'll close with the Aaronic Benediction that traditionally closes Lutheran services. This is a vast improvement over my first draft (that blogger lost) which ended with a link to a song that celebrates a very different, yet just as valid, way of finding that God/love connection.
The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.